D-SIP 2017 Summer Highlights


D-SIP 2017 Teambuilding Challenge

If you had 2 hours and 20 dollars, how would you do the most good? Split into 5 groups, this year’s cohort demonstrated a variety of ways to have positive impact.They provided art supplies to a school and college organization, purchased flowers and snacks to give out to Wolverine Tower staff, and two groups combined to buy flowers and serenade individuals at a nursing home during a Mother’s Day celebration.  

The Nonprofit 9-0


Every summer, D-SIP interns partner with a community nonprofit to address a fundraising challenge the nonprofit is facing. This summer, D-SIP partnered with two nonprofits–the Ann Arbor Film Festival and Washtenaw Literacy–and focused on developing recommendations to turn their non-donor constituencies into donors.



Summer Party

Similar to other D-SIP summers, the cohort of 2017 attended the development-wide summer party and practiced networking with staff. They also had some very cute caricatures drawn, so we had to share!



Interns went to Petoskey, Michigan again this summer to reflect on all of their learnings, meet philanthropists, and visit Camp Michigania. Interns prom-posed for us while we stopped to fill up all of the vans.


A Summer of Song

As you might have seen from above, we learned that D-SIP 2017 possessed a lot of musical talent during the teambuilding challenge. Watch this video to see more of D-SIP 2017 and the D-SIP retreat, and to hear one of our summer interns, Tommy Kim, sing. 

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrhP-L4tFZ4

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Congratulations and good luck to D-SIP 2017!



D-SIP 2017 Alumni Awards

At this past summer’s Closing Ceremony, two alumni were recognized with annual awards: the Chrissi Rawak Award for Distinction in Development and the Block M of Honor for Community Impact.


The first award is named after one of the visionaries behind the creation of D-SIP, Chrissi Rawak, who is now the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Services at the University of Delaware. It was awarded to Muhi Khwaja (D-SIP ‘09) this year in recognition of him being a visionary of his own. Muhi collaborated with others to develop the The American Muslim Fund, a community foundation that seeks to provide sustainable funding and resources for nonprofits. He works directly with families and their Donor Advised Funds to support the charities of their choice so that they can successfully fulfill their missions today and continue to do so into the future. The American Muslim Fund launched its first campaign during Ramadan this year and exceeded its goal by raising over $60,000.  


The second award, the Block M for Community Impact, recognizes an alum who has made philanthropic contributions to their community through gifts of time, treasure, and talent. This year’s Block M for Community Impact went to Avery Gleason (D-SIP ‘14). Avery has a passion for the Ozone House and a passion for encouraging other millennials to get involved in addressing homelessness in his community. He created the Ozone House millennial board, which specifically focuses on raising awareness around college homelessness. The board established the Marshmallow Challenge campaign and raised over $8,000 for the cause.

When Muhi and Avery aren’t utilizing their fundraising skills to enhance their communities, they are using them in their day jobs. Muhi currently works as a major gift officer for the American Red Cross, and Avery is a business intelligence analyst for the Office of University Development.

D-SIP alumni never cease to inspire us with the amazing philanthropic work they are involved in. Congratulations to Muhi and Avery!

Want to nominate a D-SIP alum for next year’s awards? Please fill out this form. D-SIP alumni are more than welcome to nominate themselves too!

It’s A Small “D-SIP” World After All

For this newsletter’s alumni spotlight, we wanted to highlight 3 alumnae connected by their career choices. Jaime Ziegler (D-SIP 2008), Chelsea Landry (D-SIP 2011), and Marah Casey (D-SIP 2011) have worked at the same nonprofit organizations. Chelsea and Jaime both worked at the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Fisher Foundation. Chelsea and Marah have both worked for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. And Jaime and Marah have both pursued MBAs from Ross! With all that they have shared career-wise, it is no surprise that they also have some shared learnings. We will share these after their intros!

headshotAfter graduating in 2009, Jaime worked for the Fisher Foundation over the summer and then became the Fundraising Events Coordinator for the Chicago Children’s Museum for two and a half years. She then became the Donor Relations Manager at the Illinois Chapter of the Nature Conservancy for one and a half years. From there, she returned to Ann Arbor to get an MBA from Ross. Still connected to philanthropy, Jaime served as the graduate chair for the Student Campaign Committee. She graduated from Ross in 2015 and is back in Chicago where she works as a Senior Consultant in Deloitte’s Human Capital Practice specializing in the healthcare provider industry.marah-casey-photo

Marah graduated from U-M in 2012 and joined Teach For America-Detroit. She taught high school government, economics, and psychology for two years. After teaching, she joined the TFA-Detroit staff in a development position, combining her passion for education with her passion for fundraising. As the Specialist of External Affairs and Marketing, Marah managed the corporate and foundation portfolios and managed social media, donor marketing, and stewardship. This past July, she accepted a new position as the Advancement Officer of Institutional Giving at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) where she manages corporate, foundation, and government giving to the DSO. Marah, like Jaime was at one point, is also an MBA candidate.chelsea-landry-photo

And finally, we have Chelsea! In 2012, Chelsea graduated, spent a summer working in development at the Fisher Foundation, and then began to obtain her masters degree in Management of Human Services from the U-M School of
Social Work. Following her masters degree, she worked at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Children’s Museum for just over a year at each place. 2015 brought her back to Michigan and to the Fisher Foundation where she continues to work in development.



Now that you see how much their careers have overlapped, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not, let’s get to the shared takeaways.

  • The Importance of Building Relationships

One of the greatest lessons Chelsea has learned is that relationships matter. “Working with integrity and supporting your team (whether that includes volunteers, coworkers, donors, or grant partners) is one of the most important things you can do.”   Marah would agree that relationships are important, and her way of ensuring a quality relationship with her donors would be to focus on the personal connection.

  • Build and Leverage Your Network!

One thing is clear about building personal relationships – sometimes you need to use them to help you grow. Leveraging your networks and D-SIP connections is sometimes key to success in a new fundraising role. When asked about her connection to Chelsea Landry through the Chicago Children’s d-sip-2011Museum [CCM], Jaime stated, “I hadn’t met Chelsea before the Fisher Foundation, but was impressed that she leveraged her network to connect with me and was happy to recommend her to
the role at CCM. I trusted D-SIP’s selection process completely, and was confident that she would do well in the Fundraising Events Coordinator role after being vetted by so many professionals that I respect.”  Chelsea went on to add,  “
I didn’t realize just how small the for-impact world was until I worked for a few years in the industry! It’s all the more reason to cultivate your professional relationships and to be intentional with your networking.” Reach out to your fellow alumni, and you might be surprised about the opportunities that open up for you!

  • And you guessed it: It’s a Small World!

It is a small world in nonprofits, particularly within our D-SIP family. I’ve been at a number of AFP [Association of Fundraising Professionals] events where I’ve run into other D-SIP alumni or met others who work in nonprofits alongside D-SIP alumni. I love being a part of a closeknit development community and D-SIP has without a d-sip-2008-2doubt helped contribute to that,” says Marah Casey. The D-SIP family is now 241 strong! Alumni work nationally and internationally. If you ever feel overwhelmed by the size of the nonprofit sector, which is over 1 million organizations, come back to your D-SIP family to help make things a little smaller.

Alumni Spotlight: Laura Meyer

Get to know one of our newest D-SIP Alums – Laura Meyer!

Development Trusts & Bequests, Caroline RebelloWhat has been one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned since your time in D-SIP? Or one of the best adventures you’ve had?

My biggest adventure has been moving to DC! I finished up my D-SIP position at the end of this summer, then I packed up my whole car with all my things and drove down here to start my new job. It was a huge risk and hasn’t always been easy, but it’s made me appreciate how strong my support network is, even when they’re in a different state or a different country.

What is your favorite D-SIP memory? Or what is one D-SIP takeaway that has stuck with you?

We had so many amazing memories! One of my favorite memories was our project showcase at the end of the summer – to go from the beginning of the summer, where some of us didn’t even know what our projects were about, to the end of the summer, where we had all accomplished such great things, was incredible. I loved getting to dress up and explore everyone’s accomplishments over heavy appetizers and reflect on the summer. It really made me appreciate what an extraordinary opportunity the D-SIP program is to be an intern while still being entrusted with substantial work that makes a difference across the university. After having quite a few internship experiences, I can say that D-SIP was the most valuable and educational internship I’ve had.

What keeps you busy these days? Feel free to discuss work, family life, and or volunteer commitments.

I recently moved to DC and I work as a development fellow with the Partnership for Public Service, a non-profit working to revitalize the federal government by transforming the way government works. Even though development here looks completely different from the higher ed development at U-M, what I learned in D-SIP directly carries over to my work here! I support the entire development team, which includes administrative support for corporate giving, writing acknowledgement letters, supporting events, and whatever else needs to get done.